I’ve just submitted Group Games version 1.3 to the App Store and hopefully it’ll be up around this time next week. I thought in the meantime this would be a good opportunity to share some facts and figures about the App.
- Group Games (as of version 1.3) will have 128 games in 13 categories.
- There are over 22 000 words in the App. Long enough for a decent book!
- Nearly 20 000 lines of code.
- Group Games has recently sold it’s 2 000th copy! It’s not many in the grand scheme of the millions of Apps that are downloaded from the App Store, but I’m very happy with the reception of Group Games.
- Group Games has been purchased in 14 different countries including Malaysia, Sweden, Mexico, Malta and Germany.
- The majority of sales come from the US, followed by Australia, Canada and the UK.
- Nearly a year after release, the App is still selling copies on a daily basis.
I’ve been really happy with how the App has gone and it’s meant that I’ve been able to cover the costs of running all my internet related hobbies and then some. I’m really thankful for all of the support that I’ve received from both friends and family and for all those other people who recommend Group Games to their friends. I’m hoping that over time I can continue to improve this resource.
To that end…
I’ve just completed my second iOS App, IceBreaker Questions.
Have you ever led a small group and needed a quick question to find out a little something about others?
Have you ever interviewed someone and wanted a non-standard question to get to know a bit more about who they really are?
Have you ever been in an awkward conversation and needed something to kickstart things?
Then this App is for you!
IceBreaker Questions is the simplest App available for finding get to know you questions. You just choose the age range, and BAM! You have a question. Want another one? Tap the question mark in the lower left hand corner.
Check out this video to see it in action.
If you’re someone who would like to write about IceBreaker Questions on your site and do a giveaway, please contact me and we can talk.
Hope you all enjoy the App!
There are so many situations at the start of the year that call for a get to know you game. Commonly called an “IceBreaker”. No matter what your groups situation is, it’s likely that the start of the year brings new people into your group, and it’s times like these that require an IceBreaker game.
So, in addition to the 9 get to know you games already on this site, I thought I’d add another ten IceBreaker games. These ten games were all originally published on IceBreakers.ME. A site with a database of IceBreaker games and questions for all ages.
- Spiders Web
- King Characticus
- Greedy Smarties
- Honey, Be A Champ And Give Me A Smile
- Shoe Pile
- Snowball Fight
- Post-It Past
- MMOSPR (Massively Multiplayer Offline Scissors Paper Rock)
- Play-Dough Personalities
Keep reading below to find out how to play these 10 great IceBreaker games.
Now you have already of course planned out how you will explain your game so this post is not going to cover that. No, this post is going to give you 3 top tips to use when you are actually running the game. Those three tips are:
- Use Effective Management Strategies
- Avoid the ‘C’ word
- Stop. Re-explain
Use Effective Management Strategies
When you’re running a youth group game, you need to ensure that you have effective management strategies in place so that you can control your youth group. Without control you will have chaos, and in the end chaos is no fun. As much as kids will initially think that running around doing whatever they want is fun, they will eventually get bored.
So you need management strategies to control your group. I’m not going to give an extensive list of management strategies and explain them all (note to self: write a series on management strategies for youth groups). Instead I’m going to give you some guidelines.
- Firstly, this is a youth group and not a classroom. You don’t need everyone to be silent all the time, but you do need to make sure that they are listening to everything that you say. If they’re not, they wont know how to play the game and will get bored.
- Secondly, create some type of signal that will get everyone’s attention. This could be something that you do or it could be something that is common throughout your youth group. It could be something as simple as clapping a pattern and expecting everyone to follow you. Or you could get creative and make it so that when you call out a phrase, your group must respond in kind. e.g. You say: “Whoa, we’re halfway there” and your group responds: “Whoa, livin’ on a prayer”. Be creative, you get the picture.
- Finally, make sure that you maintain respect of the kids in your group. If you have their respect they will listen to you. Hopefully this will be an attitude throughout your youth group where all kids respect all leaders. But I wanted to emphasise this point. The easiest way to manage a group is to ensure that they respect you.
Avoid the ‘C’ Word
When playing a game of any kind, everyone wants to push the rules for their advantage (especially those of us who can get a bit competitive). When this goes to far, people love to use the ‘C’ word and call others CHEATERS. It’s a good practice to try and get rid of this word from your youth groups vocabulary. And this comes straight from a loving attitude from the leaders.
However, you can help this attitude along. During the explanation for a game, and throughout the game itself, emphasise to the kids that you don’t want to hear anyone using the ‘C’ word. For a few reasons:
- You don’t want anyone cheating in the first place. Everyone should be aiming to have fun, and most importantly, should be helping others to have fun.
- It doesn’t help anyone when someone calls out a cheater. It just ruins the game. The better attitude to have is to ignore it. They are ruining the game for themselves and you will have much more fun if you don’t let them ruin it for you. However, if someone is constantly cheating and ruining the game. Encourage your kids to quietly tell a leader, rather than yelling it across a room.
- It’s not very nice. Being a cheater isn’t loving anyone and calling someone a cheating isn’t loving them either.
Encourage your group not to speak of the ‘C’ word, remove it from your youth groups vocabulary.
Although you may plan and plan and plan your game, and although you may think you’ve explained it perfectly, sometimes the game just doesn’t work the way you wanted it to. In this case, instead of letting the game flounder, STOP.
Stop the game.
Bring everyone back together and explain rules that you think need explanation. You may even add new rules or clarify existing ones. Do whatever you think needs to be done in order for the game to run smoothly.
If you don’t stop the game, everyone will get frustrated. Stopping the game is not admitting defeat. It’s changing tac, starting a new course and hoping that the new course will help you reach your goal. Whatever that may be.
I hope these 3 top tips have been helpful in thinking about how you’ll run your next youth group game. They have definitely served me well over the years!
As you most probably know, besides this blog I also run a number of other sites (which you can see here). One of those sites is Free HD Countdowns, where you can find the largest selection of free high definition video countdowns on the web.
Below are three Christmas themed countdowns which you can download for free and use at your next Christmas event.
Christmas Magi Video Countdown
This is a static image with a twinkle star which guides the magi to Jesus.
5 minutes. Soundtrack. Full HD.
Christmas Ribbon Video Countdown
A Christmas tree with a bokeh of lights moving through the background.
5 minutes. Soundtrack. Full HD.
Christmas Lights Video Countdown
I made this countdown last year. A close up of a Christmas tree with starry lights twinkling.
3 minutes. HD.
- ESV Bible (https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/esv-bible/id361797273?mt=8)
- TeacherKit (https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/teacherkit/id389584618?mt=8)
- Two Ways to Live (https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/two-ways-to-live/id500600854?mt=8)
- Bible (https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/bible/id282935706?mt=8)
- Group Games (https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/group-games/id520107551?mt=8)
Ok, now you’ve already chosen the game that your group is going to play and you’ve planned how you are going to run the game. Next up, you need to bring the game to your youth group, and you need to explain it to them.
You may not normally think about how you explain a game to your youth group, but it is a very important step. Without it, kids and leaders can be confused and the game doesn’t really work. If this happens, the game probably wont fulfil whatever purpose you had planned. And most probably, whatever follows from the game will suffer from the lack of organisation because you did not explain the game properly.
In order to avoid this. Here are a few steps you need to consider when explaining the game to your youth group.
- Plan out your explanation
- Practise your explanation
- Tell your leaders first
- Ensure safety is explained clearly
- Be confident
- Only allow three questions